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India set to triple output of Russian vaccine to 300 million doses

Sputnik V coronavirus vaccines

India will produce about 300 million doses of Russia’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccines next year with fresh deals having been signed with pharma companies, a senior Russian official was quoted as saying. This is nearly three times the number that is scheduled for production in the earlier deals for producing the vaccine in India.

Russia is already testing the first samples of Sputnik V that were produced in India, its embassy in New Delhi said on Twitter on Friday, quoting vaccine czar Kirill Dmitriev. “In India, we have agreements with four large manufacturers,” Dmitriev, the head of the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) told Rossiya 24 TV, according to news agency TASS. “India will produce about 300 million doses or more of the vaccine for us next year.”

India is the world’s biggest vaccine maker and its pharmaceutical industry is freeing up capacity and accelerating investments ahead of the global rush for Covid-19 shots. India’s Hetero Biopharma has already announced a deal with the RDIF to make more than 100 million doses of Sputnik V, whose efficacy has been found to be more than 91% in trials done outside India.

Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories Ltd is also conducting clinical trials for the Russian vaccine in India and will also distribute the finished vaccine. Indian officials have said they may approve some vaccines for emergency use authorization in the coming weeks. So far only three vaccines from Oxford-AstraZeneca, Pfizer/BioNTech and Indian company Bharat Biotech have applied for urgent approval.